News & Opinion | Trans
Zaya Wade, transgender daughter of retired NBA player Dwyane Wade, has been recognized as a prominent younger member of the LGBTQ community since announcing that she was ready to live as her true self at the age of 12. Zaya, now 15 years old, is Dwyane Wade’s second eldest child with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches and the former spouses are currently in opposition surrounding Zaya’s complete transition.
Funches-Wade and Wade are on opposite sides of a legal petition to allow their daughter to change her gender and name, with Funches suggesting that Zaya should wait until she is 18. She alleges that Zaya is also being pressured into her transition for financial gain on her father’s behalf.
According to legal documentation obtained by the Blast, Funches filed an objection to Wades’ petition to change Zaya’s gender legally, along with the issuance of a new birth certificate. Due to Zaya being a minor, both parents must agree to the transition and obtain a court order before the change can be completed.
Siovaughn Funches is claiming that her ex-husband Wade is attempting to sidestep the requirements of the final custody order judgment that the former spouses entered into whilst discussing the custody of their children. The order was said to provide parental consultation and that Wade is expected to “discuss with and obtain input in the major decisions affecting care, welfare, activities, health, education and religious upbringing" of their two children prior to any major decisions being made.
Funches continues to claim that Wade “is positioned to profit from the minor child’s name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney.”
The petition filed by Funches states the following:
“I have concerns that [Dwyane] may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies."
Dwyane Wade and his current wife Gabrielle Union have been very open with their constant support of Zaya and her decision to transition. Wade has also opened up about the situation concerning Zaya’s legal request saying that “Our (then) 12-year-old came home ... and said, "Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I'm ready to live my truth and I want to be referenced as she and her and I would love for you guys to call me Zaya."
He added, "We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self."
Wade notes that although Zaya openly asked for recognition of her true self at the age of 12, he claims that the identifying markers were very easily seen in Zaya from as young as 3 years old.
Siovaughn Funches has had her objections to Zaya’s transition and is asking that her daughter waits until she turns 18, when parental permission is no longer needed, to make the change official.
Funches continues to say that "I am concerned that our child is being commercialized at a young age and also of the uncontrollable consequences of media exposure i.e. cyberbullying, statements and/or pictures taken out of context of our child, and the unwanted spotlight focused on our child."
A hearing is set for sometime in December where there will be an official ruling on the matter.